Sunday, June 17, 2012

Phony gun buy-backs a political non-event

Voluntary Gun turn-ins like the latest set for June 23 are largely a politically motivated attempt to look like the local government is doing SOMETHING to eliminate gun violence. In American Shooter, I wrote, "...Politically cynical buy-back programs were tried by City Hall, paying Chicagoans to turn in guns for $100 gift cards. These buy-back efforts always produced a pile of trash and the gangs get spending money to buy ammunition."

Little has changed as Mayor Emanuel pushes this same tired tactic. The littered table tops at police stations where the buy-backs are displayed for the media are rarely covered with an arsenal of street crime weapons. According to Steve Chapman, a member of the Chicago Tribune editorial board in today's Sunday Tribune, (6/17/12) "The people who participate are generally those who are the least dangerous. Those who are most dangerous have no motive to participate. So when the buy-back is done, the number of armed criminals will most likely be unchanged." As Chapman further points out, "...a pistol used in the course of armed robberies will pay for itself many times over. A $100 gift card won't."

A few old plinking rifles, A grocery store bag full of dusty, cheap automatic pistol knock-offs with clips rusted into the grips and revolvers that require a hammer to open the cylinder make for great scrap, but hardly represent the Glocks, Mac-10s, Taurus, Kimber, Colt and Desert Eagle street-carries shoved into baggy pants waistbands and hoody pockets.

The police and politicians are still casting too wide a net, hauling in more sporting firearms and fewer real weapons with each trolling expedition. This is another reason why we need a disconnect between sporting firearms and the needs of the police and military. We need more rifle and pistol ranges to train civilian gun owners and sports competitors in the rigors of marksmanship, firearms safety and responsibility. Today, draconian range building rules are insuring that the people who own the most (concealed and open carry) guns have the least amount of training -- and that's a recipe for tragedy.

What we need is a resurgence of firearms sports and competitions to get us back to our roots and away from the virulent extremist tub-thumping.